ROADMAP FOR EQUALITY BETWEEN WOMEN AND
MEN 2006-11 (7034/06)
Letter from the Chairman to Meg Munn MP,
Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Women and Equality, Department
of Trade and Industry
Your Explanatory Memorandum dated 23 March was
considered by Sub-Committee G on 4 May.
These proposals are indeed important. We fully
endorse the broad policy aims. But I am sure you will agree that
the detailed plans are highly ambitious and we must ask whether
you consider them to be realistic and achievable in the timescale
Your EM says that the Government welcomes the
approach proposed by the Commission in the Roadmap, although it
does not say why you have apparently concluded that the Roadmap
approach is preferable to the alternative sectoral policy approach
which the Commission considered and rejected. We would be grateful
if you could explain this.
We agree with you that the emphasis on non-legislative
action and exchanges of good practice is to be commended and are
grateful for the assurance in your EM that the proposals accord
with the principle of subsidiarity. But the effective co-ordination
and monitoring of such a wide-reaching set of cross-cutting objectives
is bound to pose a formidable challenge to the Commission and
Member States. So will ensuring consistency of approach and keeping
up the momentum.
It is not clear to us from either the Commission
documentation or your own EM how all this activity is to be managed.
We are anxious to ensure that it does not lead to excessive bureaucracy,
duplication of effort or unforeseen extra expenditure. Nor should
it infringe on the competence of Member States or the principle
That said, the main areas for action set out
by the Commission seem at first sight to be generally acceptable.
We welcome especially the emphasis on eradication of gender-based
violence and human trafficking. The proposals on immigrant women
and ethnic minorities within the EU are also important, but will
need very sensitive handling. So will the proposals for action
in Accession States and third countries, and we will want to be
sure that the Commission has an adequate mandate for pursuing
We note that EMs on the specific proposals for
action planned on the gender pay gap, demography, comparable statistics
on crime victims and criminal justice and the European Vision
on Gender Equality in Development Co-operation will be submitted
for Parliamentary scrutiny as they arise. We will want to examine
these very carefully when they do, as we will the Commission's
promised progress report in 2008 and their full evaluation in
2010. But your EM indicates that the implications of some of the
other planned activities are not yet clear. We would be grateful
if you could explain how those implications will be submitted
for Parliamentary scrutiny.
Your EM says that the Department has consulted
informally with other relevant Government Departments, but does
not mention any wider consultations. We would be glad to know
what has been done, or is planned, about that.
We notice that the Commission's proposals for
improving governance for gender equality include the setting up
of the European Gender Institute by 2007. As you know, this Committee
has recently issued two Inquiry Reports recommending that gender
equality work should be incorporated with the activities of the
proposed European Fundamental Rights Agency, rather than by a
separate institute, which would reflect the Government's own approach
to equality work in this country.
We would welcome your comments on all the above
points and will retain the document under scrutiny in the meantime.
5 May 2006
Letter from Meg Munn MP to the Chairman
Thank you for your letter of 5 May responding
to the Explanatory Memorandum on a Communication from the Commission
on a Roadmap for Equality between Women and Men, 2006-10. I must
apologise for taking so long to respond.
The Impact Assessment sets out in some detail
why the Commission has chosen a roadmap over a sectoral approach
to progress on gender equality. An overarching, coherent and global
structure should allow for a greater focus on priority areas,
as well as emphasising the need for commitment to the advancement
of gender equality in all policies. A unified roadmap should also
give gender equality policy more visibility at European and international
levels: the challenge will be to ensure action is taken at Member
It is to be hoped that this global approach
will also make it easier to monitor progress effectively and improve
co-ordination and management of activity. The section on monitoring
progress in the Roadmap itself details measures for monitoring
progress, including adapting existing tools such as the annual
Work programme for the implementation of gender mainstreaming.
Progress will be monitored and evaluated by existing gender equality
indicators and new ones under development.
The Roadmap also states that countries joining
the EU must fully embrace the fundamental principle of gender
equality. Monitoring the transposition, implementation and enforcement
of EU gender equality legislation will be an EU priority for future
enlargement processes. In addition the EU already plays a key
role in international development efforts and is already promoting
gender equality in its development policy, for example by including
gender equality as a key element in its Strategy for Africa.
With regards to your query on other planned
activities, as soon as the specific proposals and implications
for other planned activities are made clear I will inform you
in writing, and where appropriate, issue an Explanatory Memorandum.
The consultation that has taken place has been
across Government Departments with the policy leads for the issues
included within the Roadmap. We will of course continue to consult
relevant colleagues and Departments as necessary when the Commission
brings forward each specific proposal.
Finally, I understand your concerns regarding
the European Gender Institute and the Fundamental Rights Agency
and I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss this issue
with your Committee in further detail on 13 July. I will of course,
continue to update you on the progress in the next stages of this
9 August 2006